Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum
Sign in to follow this  
Dániel Boros

The supernatural?

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

Why does someone who believes there exists a supernatural realm based on reason and science fail as an objectivist?

What is the philosophical basis for deniing the posibility of its existence by deafult?

Someone who believes in the multiverse could not call hismself an objectivist since the multiverse isn't ruled by natural law, am I right?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Things like time travel and parallel dimentions are considered impossible because it would imply that something other than existence (non-existence) exists. Which is a contradiction.

So like time travel has the idea that once was (that which does not exists) exists somewhere (that isn't an actual place, that is no where).

A multiverse is the same in that it implies that there is a place (that is no place) where things that did not happen did happen, or things that do not exist exist.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So if we were inside the Matrix anything outside would not be considered existence, correct?

Even if somone could dodge bullets and deny the laws of physics that wouldn't mean anything, right?

If there was a law responsible for creating the natural laws that law by definition would not exist even if we could deductively prove its exsistence from the natural laws. Am I correct?

Edited by Dániel Boros

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The concept of a multiverse demands that we stop thinking of existence and universe as synonyms. Conceptually, to do so seems to be to engage in the fallacy of composition. Objectivists define existence as the total of all that exists. So, let's say that some scientist proves existence is a multiverse. Then a universe would only be a small part of existence. It need not be "supernatural."

Edited by FeatherFall
clarit

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dániel, what information have you gotten about Objectivism so far? What sources are you familiar with? It will save a lot of trouble if we know what you already do know and what you do not know before proceeding with answering your questions.

Briefly though, about the "supernatural" - anything that is supposedly supernatural either is not in fact supernatural and is in fact natural or else it does not exist. "Supernatural" is something defined as being contradictory - it involves things not acting in accordance with their own natures, being themselves and not themselves at the same time and in the same sense basically. This violates the axiom of identity, that a thing is itself, something which is one of the founding elements of Objectivism. So, supernatural, not compatible with Objectivism.

As for the multiverse thing, I think that may heavily hinge on what it is we are specifically referring to with that term whether it involves a contradiction by definition or not. I'm pretty sure I've head more than one type of theory before which used the term multiverse, so I'd need more specifics to comment well on it.

About the Matrix thing, no, outside the Matrix would just be more of existence. The Matrix simply is not ALL of existence, just part of it, like a virtual reality game pretty much. Similarly to a virtual reality game, being able to dodge bullets in the Matrix wouldn't be supernatural, it just would be an example of the illusions we can create with machines, machines which are not supernatural. It's like how a magician may make it appear that they have pulled a rabbit out of an empty hat, but that is just an illusion created utilizing natural processes in creative ways.

As for "a law creating natural laws" - I have no idea what the heck you are talking about except to say that I hope you don't plan to say you mean a deity because there are tons of threads already on why there cannot be any deities. All the standard arguments for belief in such things which claim to be rooted in something other than faith have been answered ad nauseum. Faith based arguments are addressed through the Objectivist position on the arbitrary. The Ayn Rand Lexicon website's entry on "arbitrary" probably covers that topic well enough to make it unnecessary to post about it here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I read many works regarding objectivisms and listened to objectivist phylosophers and I consider myself an objectivist. I however did not became and objectivist because I realised that objectivism was right but because I realised that what I believed was right was called objectivism...

... but there's one thing that doesn't really fit into objectvism that may or may not be true and that conserns me.

Yes dodging bullets in the Matrix would be in fact an illusion, but how could you affirm that if you exist inside the matrix? What if you're just a program and you don't really exist outside the Matrix?

If you believe that everything is governed by natural law than whatever causes Neo to dodge bullets has to be also governed by natural law.

You cannot say that there is probably a World outside if you believe you live inside the bounds of nature. You can only say that our knowledge of nature is incomplete and we don't know how Neo does his thing.

So if someone violated natural law you cannot say it happened because that would be a claim regarding the supernatural (i.e.: a miracle happened). Even if you are right, even if you can prove it, you cannot say it.

If a donkey started talking that would be totally normal as well, because everything is normal.... We assume nothing can interact with Nature, but isn't that just an assumption?

By law creating law I meant the big bang and big crunch theory. Instead of having multiple Universes with different laws you would have one Universe that is periodically recreated and whatever recreates the Universe would be that law (or rather what would describe that phenomena would be the law).

I don't mind if people refer to that as "God", although I do not think that is an appropriate word for it. Einstein wouldn't agree with me on this one, but who cares?

I see this is partly a problem of definitions.

My definitions would be:

Reality - Everything that exists

Universe, Nature - The part of reality governed by natural law

Supernatural - Inside of reality, but outside of Nature (super = above, which means above nature)

Supernatural may or may not be nothing, but that shouldn't be decided by phylosophy...

Edited by Dániel Boros

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is the most annoying thing about 'philosophers.' From them, you hear, "I don't care if the math checks out. No matter how sound your theory is, if I can't see it, it doesn't exist. Contradiction, contradiction!!!" What's the problem with this? Well, these guys aren't skilled scientists. They aren't mathmeticians. They haven't left any room in their minds for the possibility of what is real, beyond what they already know. They just go on wiki and type in 'm-theory' or 'string theory,' skim over the articles, and form a half-assed opinion without understanding 3/4 of the concepts they see. This must be so annoying to real scientists who actually devote their lives to the study of these theories and are constantly trying to find ways to scientifically prove them.

These posts always remind me of Darwin. People (and 'philosophers') thought he was insane, because his idea of evolution was so radical and different from what they thought they knew. But at the time, Darwin couldn't explain genetics or heredity, main components of his theory. Technology wasn't that advanced. After many many years, we were actually able to understand genetics and inheritance (thanks Mendel), and rewrite key parts of his theory. But this took TIME.

Philosophers are too quick to jump on the bandwagon and dismiss important scientific theories, when they realistically know almost nothing about them.

My definitions would be:

Reality - Everything that exists

Universe, Nature - The part of reality governed by natural law

Supernatural - Inside of reality, but outside of Nature (super = above, which means above nature)

Supernatural may or may not be nothing, but that shouldn't be decided by phylosophy...

It's one thing to wonder about how the universe formed, how we came to be, etc. But why would you attribute any of this to something supernatural? There's no reason for it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You know, we should add links to threads on the brain in a vat thing to the FAQ thread. Unfortunately, I can't look up "vat" in the forum's search engine because it won't look up anything less than four letters long. :glare:

"I read many works regarding Objectivism and listened to Objectivist philosophers . . ."

Such as? You've got to be more specific because some sources are much more reliable than others and they cover different topics.

"but how could you affirm that if you exist inside the matrix? What if you're just a program and you don't really exist outside the Matrix?"

Do you have any evidence to suggest this is the case? If not, then don't worry about it. It's about as credible as there being purple unicorns in a fight to the death underground in one of the moon's of Jupiter. That one can imagine something doesn't mean it must be "possible" -- we can imagine all kinds of ridiculous junk. The burden of proof logically rests on somebody who says something is or "may" be the case. It isn't up to others to disprove whatever random claims somebody may spew.

"If you believe that everything is governed by natural law than whatever causes Neo to dodge bullets has to be also governed by natural law."

Yes. I already stated the machine running the Matrix would have to be operating naturally, not "supernaturally." I already mentioned before how it is possible to use natural things to present an image which some may mistake for something impossible, like sawing a lady in half without killing her.

"You cannot say that there is probably a World outside if you believe you live inside the bounds of nature."

Supposing one had the kind of evidence and experiences that Neo did in The Matrix, why not? Throughout that whole first movie there was nothing which happened which could not have been the product of natural occurrences. The Matrix itself and the world outside it - neither were supernatural, both are the product of the natural. For something that you may be more familiar with, have you not had a dream before where it seems like something is not how it should be and asked yourself if you were dreaming as a possible or even likely explanation for what seems to be happening? One has not stepped outside the bounds of nature when they dream. The weird things we may see when we dream are the result of our brain working according to its nature.

"You can only say that our knowledge of nature is incomplete and we don't know how Neo does his thing."

Also possible, but various things could happen to raise the suspicion that one may be in a virtual reality program of some sort - glitches, getting chased by fishy agents, hearing rumors about the program and, you know, actually taking a pill that takes you outside the program. A brain in a vat type situation just isn't a reasonable quick assumption any time you see something you don't understand, like every time you go see a magician in Vegas you start looking for an exit from the world.

I'm not going to entertain the idea of what to do if one really experienced the supernatural though since, as I explained earlier, the supernatural is impossible due to inherent contradiction and therefore one never would experience supernatural things. If you think you did, you just are missing part of the story that explains what happened and how, like where that rabbit was before it was taken out of the hat.

"If a donkey started talking that would be totally normal as well, because everything is normal...."

Natural and normal are not the same thing. A talking donkey would not be normal, however if you look around you may find a hidden microphone or that this is some weird genetic experiment animal with a different kind of vocal chords and such from other donkeys so that it is capable of mimicking the sounds of human languages much like some birds can.

"We assume nothing can interact with Nature, but isn't that just an assumption?"

There's no assumption. Nature, as it is meant in this discussion (as opposed to the usage of the word which only refers to things which have not been created through human intervention) is everything. There is no other, separate thing for nature to possibly interact with.

Not sure what the big bang theory has to do with this discussion. That would not be supernatural either.

There is nothing which exists outside of nature though. Assuming we mean by "nature" here that things are "natural", ie, that they have a particular nature (a specific identity), then for something to be outside nature would have to mean it does not obey itself, it contradicts itself, it is itself and it is not itself simultaneously and in the same sense. This goes against the axiom of identity as mentioned earlier, that a thing is itself. One cannot possibly present a coherent defense of contradictions existing either because all communication rests on the law of identity. Proving yourself right would then simultaneously invalidate all your previous argument in favor of contradictions and thus leave you again with no case. Throw out the law of identity as an absolute and your words could no longer convey any meaning. You can speak as clearly as you want but there's no guarantee what those words intend to convey. You can say green and mean dog, pizza and mean liquid, stop and mean go, et cetera since things can be themselves and not themselves at the same time. You just become incoherent.

"Supernature" IS within the realm of philosophy because it is an issue related to metaphysics and epistemology. If you realize something is impossible, you know trying to actually go physically hunt it down would be a futile pursuit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've read and listened to the stuff on the homepage of the Ayn Rand Institue, but I guess I did not listen to the methaphysical stuff all that much.

"Supernature" IS within the realm of philosophy because it is an issue related to metaphysics and epistemology. If you realize something is impossible, you know trying to actually go physically hunt it down would be a futile pursuit.

So if I find a substance that can exist but cannot be created (e.g.: because you need more energy to create it than the Universe can possibly contain) than it is alright to suggest that something is not right,

and whatever is not right is not science but the Universe (or rather our virtual reality),

and until it isn't proven that the science is wrong that is the position one should (or could) take.

No wait this doesn't make sense...

You can't realize something is impossible by looking at it... you can only realize that by thinking about it... because it is impossible to find something that cannot exist.

I kind of think that I'm right... but I kind of think that I am wrong...is that a contradiction?

There is nothing which exists outside of nature though. Assuming we mean by "nature" here that things are "natural", ie, that they have a particular nature (a specific identity), then for something to be outside nature would have to mean it does not obey itself, it contradicts itself, it is itself and it is not itself simultaneously and in the same sense. This goes against the axiom of identity as mentioned earlier, that a thing is itself. One cannot possibly present a coherent defense of contradictions existing either because all communication rests on the law of identity. Proving yourself right would then simultaneously invalidate all your previous argument in favor of contradictions and thus leave you again with no case. Throw out the law of identity as an absolute and your words could no longer convey any meaning. You can speak as clearly as you want but there's no guarantee what those words intend to convey. You can say green and mean dog, pizza and mean liquid, stop and mean go, et cetera since things can be themselves and not themselves at the same time. You just become incoherent.

If that is how you define nature I would argue that "natural laws" or "laws of nature" is a misleading combination of words...

What we call nature by necessity is nature, but what we call laws of nature aren't necesarely the laws of nature, they might be the laws of a virtual world or something.

Edited by Dániel Boros

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can't realize something is impossible by looking at it... you can only realize that by thinking about it... because it is impossible to find something that cannot exist.

By the very nature of perception, if you are looking at something, it cannot be impossible by the vary fact you are perceiving. You have to be literal though: you are seeing things exactly as they occur. If I see a rabbit pulled out of a hat, it is possible to pull a rabbit out of a hat. You may, if you are unaware of how magic works, say it was impossible, but once you think about it and explain what happens in terms of your knowledge, then you can explain why it is possible. So, you seem to be on the right track, just keep in mind that what occurs conceptually is a chosen and fallible process, yet still at root connected to perception.

"Laws of nature" is a bit misleading, perhaps "law of reality" would make more sense for you. When talking about metaphysics (being qua being, existence as such), a distinction beyond that only refers to subdividing how reality operates. There are manmade laws (legal, virtual, etc), and what is generally meant as natural laws (F=MA, cells divide, etc), both of which are part of reality and all operate within the confines of reality. Even virtual structures have limitations and requirements based on hardware.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you come across something which seems like its creation within reality is impossible then there are two possibilities. Either you miscalculated what its creation takes or you were wrong about what it is. Various ways the latter option could happen could be anything from just jumping to conclusions on insufficient evidence to the thing being just a virtual imitation, not the real deal. The virtual reality one though is pretty far down the line in order of likelihood unless you can gather a lot more evidence pointing in that direction. The smallest issues, like mere errors in your math, are the most likely. That kind of stuff is typical, it wouldn't be a stretch to think it may have happened again.

Edited by bluecherry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Either you miscalculated what its creation takes or you were wrong about what it is.

No I mean this is all hypothetical I am not actually suggesting that we are in a virtual reality.... this is just for fun... like the brain in the vat...

My premise was that it was actually something that should have not existed and I am convinced based on reason and science that it should not exist. (hypothetically)

So what you're saying that even if I am right... I have actually made the wrong conclusion?

I mean... it's not a coincidence that I am right... and it's not like I have any better alternatives....so....yeah.....

Do you have any evidence to suggest this is the case? If not, then don't worry about it. It's about as credible as there being purple unicorns in a fight to the death underground in one of the moon's of Jupiter. That one can imagine something doesn't mean it must be "possible" -- we can imagine all kinds of ridiculous junk. The burden of proof logically rests on somebody who says something is or "may" be the case. It isn't up to others to disprove whatever random claims somebody may spew.

Yes but whatever that somebody says won't matter because we can always deny it based on lack of knowladge... its just a trick... we just haven't figured it out yet...etc..

Also possible, but various things could happen to raise the suspicion that one may be in a virtual reality program of some sort - glitches, getting chased by fishy agents, hearing rumors about the program and, you know, actually taking a pill that takes you outside the program. A brain in a vat type situation just isn't a reasonable quick assumption any time you see something you don't understand, like every time you go see a magician in Vegas you start looking for an exit from the world.

I'm not going to entertain the idea of what to do if one really experienced the supernatural though since, as I explained earlier, the supernatural is impossible due to inherent contradiction and therefore one never would experience supernatural things. If you think you did, you just are missing part of the story that explains what happened and how, like where that rabbit was before it was taken out of the hat.

Yes but which part of the story am I missing and how can I prove it? How do you define "glitches"? How do you know something is a glitch and not a trick?

I mean you're saying that I can argue for being in a virtual world based on glitches... but that's not really true, right?

Edited by Dániel Boros

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You know, we should add links to threads on the brain in a vat thing to the FAQ thread. Unfortunately, I can't look up "vat" in the forum's search engine because it won't look up anything less than four letters long. :glare:
See bottom right of the forum page for a Google Custom Search that will search the forum.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Time is relational concept, based upon the measurement of motion. The purpose of the concept is to measure durations and if you will excuse the wording, isolate and compare the "timing" of events relative to each other. It has no other existence (regardless of what physicists may tell you based upon their interpretation of Relativity ), it is not a place, or series of places, therefore it makes no sense to say one can "time travel".

One cannot travel through a relational concept which exists for the stated purposes, no more than one can "travel" through your friendships , or no more than one can travel through the number twelve.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So if I find a substance that can exist but cannot be created (e.g.: because you need more energy to create it than the Universe can possibly contain) than it is alright to suggest that something is not right,

and whatever is not right is not science but the Universe (or rather our virtual reality),

and until it isn't proven that the science is wrong that is the position one should (or could) take.

Ok so I realized this actually would not be supernatural even if it were true since the supernatural is within the realm of philopsophy and not in the realm of science...

so sorry

Anyway I guess it goes down to the story of the brain in the vat.

And I am okay with saying that if nothing unnusual, contradictoy, abnormal happens than its okay to think you're not in the vat...

but if the World goes insane around you than shouldn't there be a way to justifie to believe that we are in fact in a vat?

Is this where logic fails? End of story?

Edited by Dániel Boros

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see this is partly a problem of definitions.

My definitions would be:

Reality - Everything that exists

Universe, Nature - The part of reality governed by natural law

Supernatural - Inside of reality, but outside of Nature (super = above, which means above nature)

Supernatural may or may not be nothing, but that shouldn't be decided by phylosophy...

No, if 'supernatural' is something - then it is reality, therefore not supernatural, by definition;

if nothing - it's outside reality, a non -existent.

Whatever reality man discovers, the *concept* of 'beyond reality' must always exist.

I think you are confusing "concept" with "existent". Possibly conflating existence with consciousness.

This is definitely within the scope of philosophy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok got it,,, my bad for not being well informed of the basics

On the other hand though, if the supernatural does not exist than objectivists rejection of God has nothing to do with claims regarding the supernatural...

It's just that anyone who claims that God is supernatural is using the wrong terms, just like I did.

I mean if God was supernatural than Theism would be nonsense and Atheism would be the claim that someone does not believe in nonsense...which would be stupid, true but stupid.

I don't think that the idea that some intelligent agent has created a specific part of the Universe is far fetched enough to be complete philosophical nonsense. False sure, but nonsense?

Or am I wrong?

So than what is the basis of rejection (which I think is perfectly normal and basic, but whatever) ?

Presumption of Atheism perhaps?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You have to be more careful when discussing "natural laws". The laws themselves are "manmade", in that the "laws" are conceptual/mathematical statements of real [ or alleged] relationships between entities ( or other facts). The facts which they identify are not manmade however.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes when I meant a "law that creates natural laws" I wasn't actually referring to any law, but to an entity which could create the existence that could be described by man with laws.

I am still right that they should not be called "laws of nature" though :)

laws of physics seem appropriate

Edited by Dániel Boros

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The term "laws of reality" mentioned before seems fine to me. "Laws of nature" is alright as long as one knows that what is meant are laws with describe "natural events". However, this could be confusing. These laws would apply just as well to things which had a to to with actions which outside of human cause/intervention would not happen, which some would not consider to be "natural" ( people are strange about defining this word sometimes).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is reality necessarily objective, if you're brain is in a vat?

If the vat is reality and the laws of the vat are the laws of reality, than influencing the vat from the outside would make reality subjective for the brain in the vat.

Or laws of reality aren't really law's of reality at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This again? What makes you think that just because your brain is in a jar , it would make reality nonobjective?

"If the vat is reality" - You mean if the vat was all that the universe consisted of? In which case there is no outside world and your question makes no sense? Or less sense than it would without that particuilar contradiction.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is reality necessarily objective, if you're brain is in a vat?

If the vat is reality and the laws of the vat are the laws of reality, than influencing the vat from the outside would make reality subjective for the brain in the vat.

Or laws of reality aren't really law's of reality at all.

Actual brains in vats atrophy and go insane. So I will substitute "Matrix" in for this.

It would still be reality, although you may not understand everything about it. A perfect realistic simulation of reality is something your mind would still have to comprehend and recieve data from. It is still not creating the contents of its mind. It is also still atempting to learn about reality, even if that aspect of reality is the nature of a computer simulation.. Just like you attempt to learn about the nature of video game worlds or movies.

I

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...